Flyers boys’ swim team finishes ninth at state

Oakville’s Shelton takes fifth in one-meter diving at state.

By MARK McNAMARA

The Lindbergh High School boys’ swim team swam its best against the best.

After racking up 82 points, the Flyers finished ninth at the 74th State Swimming and Diving Championships over the weekend at St. Peter’s RecPlex.

“We had a great meet. It was a great team effort. I didn’t know if we could get top 10, so that was exciting. It was pretty nice,” Lindbergh senior Joe Baumgartner said.

The Flyers recorded their third top-10 finish since the 2005-2006 school year and best since placing second in 2006.

“We pretty much hit exactly where we wanted to from the beginning of the year. It was fun. We had a blast,” Lindbergh head coach Tim Lombardo said.

Baumgartner led the Flyers with a third-place finish in the 100-yard freestyle and a fifth-place finish in the 200 freestyle. He also helped the 200-yard freestyle relay team place fourth and the 400 freestyle relay finish eighth.

Baumgartner, who started swimming as a sophomore, broke his own school records in the 100 and 200 freestyle races and in the 200 relay with seniors Keith Fabick and Cameron Rudolph and junior Brandon Graham. His leadoff leg of the relay also was fast enough to set Lindbergh’s 50-yard freestyle record.

“I can keep my name up there a little longer,” Baumgartner said of lowering his school’s records.

Of the three relays and five individual events in which multiple Flyers qualified for the state meet, only one performance was not a season best.

“One kid missed his personal best by four-one-hundredths of a second. Every other time was a personal-best race. From that perspective, it was an awesome meet,” Lombardo said.

The Flyers timed 1:28.73 — 1:28.50 in the preliminary round — in the 200 freestyle relay to place eighth. In the 400 relay, Flyers Baumgartner, Fabick, Graham and junior Ryan Mayer timed 3:16.32 in the finals to take fourth.

Baumgartner timed 46.00 in the 100 freestyle final, and 1:42.33 in the 200 final.

His record-setting preliminary times were 45.8 and 1:42.01, respectively.

“He’s a kid that wants to win. That’s the best Joe has ever swam in these events. He was way faster, I think, than even he thought he could be,” Lombardo said.

Baumgartner plans to continue swimming at an NCAA Division I school next year.

Mayer, sophomore Christian Knuepfer and sophomore Jordan Mayer thrilled Lombardo despite not qualifying to the finals in the 500 freestyle.

“The kids that swam individually that didn’t get back (for the finals), still swam awesome. The three kids that swam the 500 freestyle, swam their fastest 200 times in their 500,” Lombardo said.

Graham missed qualifying in the 50 and 100 freestyle, placing 29th and 25th in each. Fabick placed 23rd in the 200 freestyle to miss the finals. Knuepfer missed the finals, placing 34th in the 100-yard breaststroke.

Knuepfer, Rudolph, Ryan Mayer and Alec Macko turned in a 32nd-place finish in the 200-yard medley relay.

Despite qualifying for only half of their events to the finals, Lindbergh had a successful preliminary round.

“I was absolutely off my feet after Friday night. We were right where we needed to be,” Lombardo said.

Oakville Senior High School’s lone competitor earned the school a 32nd place finish as a team.

Senior Andrew Shelton placed fifth in one-meter diving with 387.25 points. The event was won with 543 points. Last year, he placed 11th with 356.3 points.

Rockhurst High School won its seventh-straight state team title with 276 points.